In recent months, growing publicity around the rise in hate raids on Twitch has caused enough of a stir for the platform to take action. Twitch announced earlier this month that it’d be suing two alleged hate raid organizers to determine their identities.
In WIRED’s report on the issue, a Twitch representative said Twitch was suing to “dissuade [hate raid organizers] from taking similar behaviors to other services, [helping] put an end to these vile attacks against members of our community.”
But Twitch is taking more than just legal action. Now, reports have surfaced that new chat moderation features are in the works to help Twitch creators prevent new, unverified accounts from sending messages or emotes in live chats.
Zach Bussey, a livestreaming-focused journalist, tweeted out that “Twitch will soon be giving streamers better control over who can chat in their channels based on email and/or phone verification.”
Screengrabs have surfaced of these reportedly upcoming Twitch features, which are all “subject to change,” writes Bussey. But these chat options will be called “Channel Privileges,” according to the screengrab, and are divided into two main categories under Chat Verification: Email Verification and Phone Verification. Twitch streamers can decide if they want some, all, or no chatters to have their emails or phone number verified prior to chatting. Streamers can also set up exemptions for current subscribers, VIPs, and moderators in their channels.
These settings would offer a basic additional level of protection for creators who want a safer streaming environment on Twitch. Requiring users to have a verified phone number and email could, theoretically, cut down on the number of users creating new anonymous accounts to harass streamers.
But creators have raised concerns on Twitter that email verification may not offer much protection for Twitch streamers looking to reduce their chances of being harassed or hate-raided on the platform. Twitch partner CarcinogenSDA pointed out that Twitch currently allows users to register multiple accounts to the same email. “Make it so that it’s one email per Twitch account,” CarcinogenSDA said. “It’s so annoying they haven’t done that yet, it makes verifying email completely moot if bots spammers and trolls can just rereg on the same email.”
Some Twitch streamers have criticized these new chat verification features, arguing that it’s an example of Twitch attempting to absolve itself of a responsibility to keep the platform safe. In response to these new features, Twitch streamer SiriusWolf said “sadly this once again puts the burden on the streamer” to regulate their own stream and be the frontline against harassment instead of the platform itself.
While some creators are criticizing the move, many are calling for further action. Horror-focused Twitch streamer jellyzine contends “now all [Twitch] need[s] to do (which would literally solve almost everything regarding hate raids) is take away the ability to host and raid if you’re not at least affiliated. I don’t see how this isn’t an option to [Twitch].” Right now, the only raid moderation settings on Twitch are to “allow all raids,” “only allow raids from friends, teammates, and followed channels” and “block all raids.”
SiriusWolf likewise has some suggestions for Twitch, saying it could add CAPTCHA security checks when users click the “Follow” button. This would ensure that accounts are authentic and not bot accounts attempting to “follow-bot” or otherwise harass a streamer via automated methods.
Former Kotaku writer and current journalist for The Washington Post Nathan Grayson also weighed in on the issue. “This is one of the means of combatting hate raids Twitch has mentioned a few times,” Grayson said. “Looks like these more granular channel-level tools will be available to streamers soon.”
It’s unclear when these reported chat verification features will become available on Twitch.